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Firefighter Tiffanye Wesley, Waiting to See First Lady, Is Herself Honored

By Jane Comerford on


First responders Tiffanye (left) and Jeff (right) standing proud with their Obama lawn signs.

Eleven years after Arlington County firefighter Tiffanye Wesley raced to the Pentagon to help victims of the 9/11 attack, she was standing in line waiting to see First Lady Michelle Obama talk in Fredericksburg, Va.

“I’d just gotten off work and I was still in my uniform standing in the back of the line. Someone from the campaign came up to me and told me and another fireman to go to the front of the line,” recalled Tiffanye, 40, now a captain with the Arlington County Fire/EMS Department.

“He shouted to the crowd that I was a first responder and the crowd roared and cheered. People were hugging me and taking my picture. I couldn’t believe it – I just teared up."

On the front lines as a firefighter, Tiffanye knows she has a strong supporter of first responders in the White House. “President Obama supports the first responders – he knows we are out there trying to protect people. He stands for all the people of this country.”

Last year on Sept. 11, Tiffanye was invited to Vice President Biden’s home for a celebration of first responders.

A few days later she went to the White House for another celebration. “I’ve heard President Obama and Vice President Biden talk about why they love the first responders. I believe them. They want to fight so we can stay employed and keep the firehouses open.”

At the White House when the jobs bill was introduced, Tiffanye shook hands with President Obama and said, “Thank you so much for all you do.”

A long-time supporter of President Obama, Tiffanye still recalls going to his inauguration with her husband and four children. “It was just amazing to be there in the freezing cold. There was such a true sense of American pride, and everyone was chanting, ‘Yes, we can. Yes, we can!’ I still feel that way!”

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